The chairman of the RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television announced the acquisition on Wednesday (3) and said shareholders from Image and Acorn had approved the transaction. The new company is called RLJ Entertainment.

Johnson said the focus would be on exploiting the aggregated library of more than 5,000 titles across digital, VoD and DVD platforms.

The Image Entertainment catalogue contains more than 700 urban titles and the Criterion Collection, while UK-based Acorn Media Group is a drama and mystery specialist that owns a majority stake in the Agatha Christie library.

Johnson declined to go into the number of expected lay-offs and stressed his focus was on a growth business. It is understood Image chief acquisitions officer Bill Bromiley will remain as Johnson plans to cover festivals and markets to acquire non-theatrical rights.

“RLJ Entertainment CEO Ted Green, COO Miguel Penella, and I are very excited about this new business combination,” Johnson said.

“RLJ Entertainment’s goal is to become a preeminent distributor of content to all media platforms including DVD and Blu-Ray, digital downloads, digital streaming, and broadcast and cable,” said Johnson.

“We are also committed as part of our business strategy, to leveraging our experience in acquiring, distributing and monetising content to create branded digital subscription channels over the Internet targeted to distinct audiences that are underserved by current media platforms and interested in programming that appeals directly to their unique viewing interests.”